Whew. Kecleon is finally in Pokemon Go. We’ve been waiting for the rare reptile since the rest of the Hoenn Pokedex was released five years ago. I’m serious, Kecleon has been the only Pokemon from the region not implemented in the game for half a decade. At first, we all assumed Niantic was working on a special implementation for the chameleon creature – something akin to its invisibility mechanic in Ruby & Sapphire, or adding the Silph Scope as an item – but as time went on, we got desperate. Would Kecleon be worth the wait? Would it ever appear at all?
Years passed, and it had got to the point where I honestly thought that Kecleon would just drop in Pokemon Go as a regular overworld spawn, that Niantic was out of ideas. I’m happy that that wasn’t the case, but I’m still left with one question: why now?
First, though, let’s talk about the good stuff. First: the commitment to Kecleon’s main series mechanic. Pokemon Go’s Kecleon doesn’t require a Silph Scope, but it does appear invisible on PokeStops (there’s a faint outline you can spot if you look closely), almost like Team Go Rocket members. Tapping it causes it to leap off the stop and into the overworld, where you can encounter it like any other Pokemon. It’s a fun implementation of the main mechanic, and Niantic is on a roll with nailing these interesting Pokemon from the games – Zorua appearing as your buddy is another such recent hit.
Then, there’s its rarity. I told you all that information about how to catch Kecleon because I’ve seen screenshots on social media and YouTubers showing off their completed Hoenn ‘dexes. I’ve never actually seen one. Despite hunting for about half an hour after Chespin Community Day, I didn’t find one Stop with a camouflaged chameleon clinging on. I hunted the next day, too (although I don’t know if it’s still appearing), to no avail. And I’ve never been happier to not see a sniff of a sought-after Pokemon.
The temptation with Pokemon Go is to min-max to the extreme. When new Pokemon are released, it’s usually as part of an event, after which you don’t know how rare an encounter they will be. Take Zorua, for instance. After the event it featured in had finished, I caught precisely one. Luckily, they were in plentiful supply before that, and I only needed 50 Candy to evolve one into Zoroark. For other Pokemon, Grubbin for instance, you need 124 Candy from the event. I didn’t get that, and am still waiting to get a Vikavolt.
You don’t need Candy for Kecleon. It doesn’t evolve, it’s no good in PvP or Raids, so what’s the point in powering it up? To flex, maybe, but that’s entirely optional. You only really need one Kecleon, so why not make it hard to find? It is invisible, after all. I want to hunt for it far and wide, and not have it be just another Pokemon reveal ruined by the eternal live-service grind, to be forgotten when the next event begins and new monster is required.
This brings me to the timing, though. Why now? Kecleon launched after Chespin Community Day, despite having no relation to the Gen 6 starter. Niantic is clearly trying to keep players in-game for longer after these events, if the post-CD Raids are anything to go by, but why Chespin? We could’ve had a Gen 3 Community Day Classic to introduce Kecleon after – Beldum and Bagon are both great options.
I believed that Kecleon would be revealed, along with its adorable shiny form, at the Go Tour: Hoenn event next month. If Niantic follows the same idea as the previous two such events, every Hoenn Pokemon will be able to be shiny, even if they have never been available before. It’s the perfect time to release Kecleon, along with its shiny. From a player perspective, it makes the event worth playing and adds to the excitement. From Niantic’s perspective, it sells tickets. It’s a win-win, and now you can see why I think it’s weird Niantic debuted the game’s most-requested Pokemon a month before the perfect event for it to arrive at. Maybe it wanted the element of surprise, maybe Kecleon arrived the moment it was ready. Maybe it was an oversight.
I’m being picky here, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that Kecleon was the most anticipated Pokemon in the entire game. While the mechanics of its reveal are great, the whole thing feels a little underwhelming. Then again, maybe I’ll change my mind when I finally encounter one. Completed Pokedex, here I come.
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